General Mills has committed to reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions by 28% across its supply chain during the next ten years, as the US food giant announced an ambitious set of environmental targets.
The commitment is in line with scientific estimations of how large a reduction is necessary in order to sustain the health of the planet, Minnesota-headquartered General Mills said in a statement. Its long-term aspiration is to achieve sustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions in line with the scientific consensus by 2050.
The company will also invest more than $100m in energy efficiency and clean energy initiatives as part of the project, continuing the work that it has undertaken to reduce its environmental footprint during the last ten years. Since 2005, it has reduced absolute emissions within its operations by 13%, increased the efficiency of energy usage in its manufacturing facilities and converted to less greenhouse gas-intensive forms of power.
But now General Mills wants to do more, broadening existing partnerships with organisations such as Field to Market and the Innovation Center for US Dairy to help it improve in three additional key areas.
The firm will partner with suppliers to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices that build climate-resilient, healthy soils; lower the carbon footprint of its products and packaging to help consumers reduce their overall footprint; and support the climate resiliency of farmers in its supply chain.
Jerry Lynch, General Mills’ vice president and chief sustainability officer, said: “Our pathways to achieving sustainable emissions will not revolutionise our business. Rather, it will be an extension of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint through continuous improvement [to] sustainable sourcing.”
General Mills chairman and CEO Ken Powell added: “For 150 years, General Mills has served the world by making food people love. Our aim is to be around for another 150 years. We recognise that we must do our part to protect and conserve natural resources. Our business depends on it and so does the planet.
“We know our greatest impact is outside our four walls – particularly in agriculture, ingredients and packaging. To reduce emission levels, we must work across our value chain with growers, suppliers, customers and industry partners. Together, we will identify new solutions and promote sustainable agriculture practices that drive emission reductions.
“While our success depends on our actions, we cannot get there on our own. We believe every company, government and individual has a role to play. Climate change is a shared, global challenge that is best addressed at scale.”
Eric Olson, senior vice president of advisory services for advocacy body Business for Social Responsibility, concluded: “General Mills’ commitment will support greater ambition and impact across the industry. By establishing specific, time-bound targets that embrace the full value chain, General Mills is in effect doubling down on their commitment to bring new innovation and partnerships with industry peers, suppliers, farmers, and other stakeholders, which will be critical to the company’s long term success.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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